Italian cuisine has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. According to a recent survey by Statista, 44 percent of Americans eat Italian food 1- 2 times per week! So, the good news is – you’ve made a smart decision if you are thinking about or have gone into the business of running an Italian restaurant. On the contrary, the market is going to be a bit competitive. Let ACityDiscount give you the information you need for a great start.
Promoting Your Italian Restaurant
Your ability to advertise your Italian restaurant will be the top factor for success. In addition to the online marketing you will unavoidably do (learn how to leverage Yelp), some other ways to generate buzz include the following:
- Giveaways - Give away a free slice of lasagna or chicken parmesan to celebrate a birthday or to congratulate a recent graduate. If your dish delivers on taste bud expectations, you may just earn a new loyal customer.
- Text Message Marketing - Remind customers of upcoming menu deals and special events that are centered on holidays and family sized catering pans. They don't just have to dine in to help make your establishments a success!
- Roadside & Restroom Signage - Nothing beats the constant reminder of a tasty meal just when you are driving home from a long day of work. Utilize the space on bathroom walls to promote upcoming events or live entertainment.
- Word of Mouth - Get the community excited about your restaurant, and watch the buzz begin!
Creating a Demand
Understand where your restaurant is in demand. You must research your market in order to avoid the mistake of setting up shop in an overly saturated location, or worse opening a high scale Italian restaurant in a low income area. The Census Bureau’s website is a great resource for understanding your location demographics. Be aware that a business can do well in a saturated area, so long as you are aware of the competition and are prepared to offer something that will differentiate you from the rest.
Another great way to create interest is to showcase the kitchen. People love to watch their food being made. Offering a quaint inset kitchen booth as a "high value" item only available for reservations is a great way to make the experience interactive. You can even go with the recently popular open kitchen concept that brings down the walls between chefs & restaurant patrons.
Staff with Skills
With any industry, your business is only as good as its employees. Your staff will include your chef, other back-of-house staff, as well as front-of-house staff. You will want to be sure that your chef (or cooks) have an established reputation. Seek someone who has worked in one or more profitable restaurants.
You will also want to establish a training plan for your front-of-house employees to ensure that they are well trained, and ready to provide the best possible service to your guests. Lastly, always encourage good employee relations between your staff.
Ingredients & Menu
It won’t hurt for you to understand the history of Italian cuisine and the development of regional cuisine – as there are some differences between Italian and American-Italian food. Decide how authentic you want your Italian restaurant to be and be sure to add these must-haves to your menu.
- Italian cheeses and antipasti
- Soups and sauces
- Pasta — dried, fresh, and filled
- Pizza and flatbreads
- Smoked & aged meats
- Italian desserts
Remember, your menu should appeal to your guest visual senses.
Equipment to Make Things Easier
Invest in the right Italian restaurant equipment to ensure your dishes cook to perfection! Pizza ovens, pasta cookers, and Panini grills are specially designed to cook your flat breads & sandwiches more efficiently than other equipment. Pasta cookers will help your line keep up with demand. And a wood fired pizza oven will have your patrons entranced while waiting for their meal
Running an Italian restaurant takes planning and continuous hard work, but knowing how to execute where to focus your energy is half the battle. If you promote your Italian restaurant well, research your market & demand, choose and develop a great team of employees, and create a menu patrons cannot resist – you will be well on your way to running a successful Italian Restaurant.